How to Do Less

Art: Elizabeth D’Angelo


If you have Myalgic Encephalomyelitis or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, we very much hope you will learn as much as you can about the impact of exercise, movement, and activity on your health.

Many people with ME report that no one told them, or no one warned them, or they wish they had done things differently. Please learn from our mistakes. Be safe out there: How Did You Get Others to Understand That Activity Makes You Worse?


🌷 “At the first thought of, I’m getting tired, people need to STOP and go rest. Regardless of what they are in the middle of, or how much needs to still be done, I’m getting tired is that place where your body is telling you that you’ve had enough. If you don’t listen, there will be hell to pay.” – Heather Shaw

🌷 “We all have those days where we feel decent. I am still learning: this does not give you license to attempt to do it all. As Heather said above… you will PAY for it dearly!!!”

🌷 “When you start thinking, I can push through this, I usually advise to stop and rest.”

🌷 “It is absolutely critical to base pacing on a) step count via a pedometer, and b) heart rate via a chest monitor.” 

🌷 “It took me many years to learn and understand how much impact mental and emotional energy has on me. Crying, laughing, getting in a fight, getting excited, falling in love, reading, watching movie, being around people, being around light and sound, all of these things can make me crash.”  

🌷 “I’ve found that prioritizing is incredibly important to pacing. If I’m not intentional, I can waste a full day’s energy on activities that aren’t important or fulfilling. Every evening, I pick the very top priorities from my to-do lists. I only pick as many activities as I think I can manage based on my energy levels. Being honest with myself about that is important. The point is to make my schedule fit my body’s needs, not bend my body to fit a rigid schedule.”

🌷 “Resting on the ‘good’ days is also so important. We tend to overdo it when feeling a little better. Who wouldn’t want to jump back into life when they are feeling a little better? This must be resisted. Here is a little piece I wrote for the Mighty in this topic: The Dangers of Pushing on the Good Days of Illness

🌷 “Be kind to yourself. It’s not easy adjusting to life with ME. There are times when you forget the pacing mission, or steamroll through gateways you thought you established so you wouldn’t overdo it. Blessing yourself for what you achieve sets the stage for being at peace and being able to both honor and recommit to the pacing mission. Bless yourself.”


How to Practice Pacing

How to Rest Your Brain

Potential Dangers of Exercise and Activity for People with ME/CFS

Lenka and Susan Do Literally Nothing


🌸 This page is part of the free online guide: How To Save Spoons: A Self-Advocacy Guide for ME/CFS

🌸 Art on this page by Robin Mead and Elizabeth D’Angelo. Page Updated: 9/1/19

🌸 Please comment below with stories, ideas, questions or suggestions. Please let us know if any links on this page stop working.

🌸 If you found this page helpful, please share it with others by pressing one of these magic little buttons: 

3 thoughts on “How to Do Less”

  1. I have joked that I am a type A person becoming a type B person. Each day, the only real thing that I NEED to do is take care of my mental health. To avoid exertion or movement of any kind without going crazy is hard at first. I have found having a variety of diversions, friend visits, audiobooks, etc. keep me from going to a negative mental space. Acceptance of my new situation is very important! Peaceful resting all!!

    Liked by 1 person

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